Why researchers need a good hinterland

The term hinterland was used by the British Politician Dennis Healy to describe somebody who had a life, interests, and knowledge that extended beyond their field of employment/speciality. Denis Healey was a leading Labour Politician from the 1950s to the start of the 1990s – and his hinterland included being Beach Master at Anzio during the Second World War, a degree from Oxford in the Classics (Greek and Latin), loved Opera, spoke French, German and Italian, passionate (and skilled) photographer, and would frequently enliven gatherings by sitting at the piano and dashing out a variety of music hall songs. Healey’s point was that politicians need to know about more than just politics, firstly because they won’t always be politicians and secondly to help them understand people. Researchers need a hinterland too, for the same two reasons. In particular a hinterland helps researchers in the following ways: In research, most of the people you will interact with, as clients, colleagues and friends, will be people like you. They will tend to be graduates, they will tend to be similar ages (in research 25 to 45 seems to be by far the most common), urban living, and with a belief that decision […]